Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Indian Space Program and Future of Space

A recent talk was given by ISRO scientists at an August 3, 2016 symposium.

Dr Kasturirangan gave the opening introduction:

Mr S Somnath, Director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, gave a presentation on launch systems and space propulsion, discussing ISRO's development activities of the present and future:

The above link has Mr Somnath's presentation slides online, covering his various topics presented:

- the Kerosene-powered SCE-200 engine would be tested next year

- possibility of vertically landing the GSLV booster stage to recover it like SpaceX does for the Falcon-9 booster. Dr Sivan has already separately mentioned that it might be feasible to one day launch from Sriharikota and land the GSLV booster in the Andamans. A lot of further development work would have to be done to make this possible.

- @ 13:40 Mr Somnath mentions plans for a methane engine which they hope to test in a couple of years. As was mentioned in a previous blog post, methane is considered a fuel of the future, and is particularly attractive for travel between Earth and Mars, since there's a possibility of synthesizing this fuel locally on Mars as well, for using it to fly back to Earth. Leading-edge companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are investing a lot of effort in developing next-generation engines which burn methane.

- work in progress on achieving direct injection of satellites into Geosynchronous Orbit, instead of having to spiral out to achieve it.

- various possible cluster-configurations of engines and stages are shown, including a step-wise upgrade path from the current GSLV-3 to a future HLV (Heavy Lift Vehicle) which could be used for a manned Moon mission.

- electric propulsion would be used on long-duration missions to save on fuel mass

Dr SV Sharma talked about ISRO's moves to ramp up satellite launch operations to meet India's growing needs, including farming off satellite production to the private sector

Lots of interesting material for Indian space enthusiasts to peruse and ponder.

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